Royal League 2005/06
Royal League opening on November 24
The schedule for the first six rounds in the second season of Royal League is now ready. The season opening will take place on Thursday November 24, having a false start with one game.
The opening of the first round in the group stage of the Scandinavian club tournament, the Royal League, happens on Thursday 24, when five out of six games are played.
In group 1 the Norwegian silver medal winners from IK Start welcomes Hammarby, number four in Allsvenskan this year, while the Danish number three FC Midtjylland meets the new Norwegian champions from Vålerenga.
In group 3 the Danish number four of the last season, AaB, meets the new Swedish champions, Djurgårdens IF, while Lyn, new Norwegian number three welcomes the new Swedish runners up from IFK Göteborg, who also made it to the Royal League final last season.
In group 2 Lillestrøm, new number four in Norway welcomes the reigning Scandinavian champions from FC København. The other match of the group between Kalmar, new Swedish number three and the Danish champions from Brøndby IF will be played already on Thursday November 10 in order to make ends meet.
The scheduling has not been without problems for the Tournament Committee, responsible for the planning of this season in the Royal League, amongst other things due to the participation of Scandinavian teams in the UEFA Cup. Spokes man for the Tournament Committee, Boye Skistad, says:
“Therefore we had to have an acceptance from UEFA of the four Royal League match dates, which clashes with matches in the UEFA Cup.”
Further more the Committee also had to take a number of considerations of the individual kind to the clubs and the stadiums involved:
“IK Start and Kalmar FF do not have heated grounds, and consequently their matches on an away basis must be played in February. As for the first round Brøndby IF cannot play November 24 and IFK Göteborg, Djurgårdens IF and Hammarby are not able to play on their home grounds due to different causes,” Boye Skistad explains and continues:
“In the second round matches including Danish clubs will take place in February 9 due to match day in the national Danish league, the SAS Liga, and not on Sunday November 27. And finally we have taken as many considerations as possible to the fact that two clubs from Copenhagen, two clubs from Stockholm and no less than three clubs from Oslo are participating in this years Royal League.”
Consequently four rounds are played in November and December, except for the Danish games in the second round, before the winter break in the rest of December and January provides the clubs with a breathing space.
The spring opening of Royal League, and thereby the fifth round in the tournament, will be placed on February 12 2006, while the sixth and last round in the group stage deciding which clubs to qualify for the quarter finals, takes place on February 19 2006.
After the six rounds in the group stage the winners and the runners up from each of the three groups and the two best number threes, meet in the quarter finals, which have replaced the former group stage two.
The quarter final draw is carried out as soon as possible after the last round of the group stage. Clubs from the same country as well as from the same group shall not meet in a quarter final.
The participants of the quarter finals play two games on a home and an away basis, the first leg on February 23/February 26 and second leg on March 9 2006. The aggregate winners of the quarter finals will also play two games on a home and an away basis, first leg on March 16 and second leg on March 23.
Everything is settled in the great final event on April 6 2006, where the new champions of Scandinavia raise the characteristic trophy.
In Denmark the Danish national champions, Brøndby IF, the Scandinavian champions from FC Copenhagen, as well as FC Midtjylland and AaB already have qualified for Royal League, while Sweden will be represented by the Swedish national champions, Djurgårdens IF, the Royal League finalists from IFK Göteborg, Kalmar FF and Hammarby.
In Norway the national league, Tippeligaen, has ended this weekend. On Saturday it was settled the the new champions are Vålerenga, IK Start takes the silver medals while Lyn and Lillestrøm both ended up on a third or a fourth place.
The participation of Brøndby IF in the UEFA Cup, play off matches for the national teams in a six week shortened season, have made it a difficult task for the Tournament Committee finding acceptable match dates.
Consequently the first two rounds of the group stage must be played on two different match days. The intent is, that all six games of each of the six rounds in the group stage shall be played simultaneously. However, it is quite unproblematic with minor differences; last year in the first season of Royal League matches in the second round containing Danish teams were played on another match day because of match days in the national league.